Panel Discussion during the Launching of the Vigil Campaign act.
Francisco Rico, Co-director of the FCJ Refugee Centre, presents the Vigil Campaign at the Monsignor Oscar Romero Commemoration in Toronto.
Three Separate Issues
Oscar, his spouse Carolina, and their three children came to Canada in 2001. They have been here ever since.
Oscar was found to be inadmissible under Section 34(1)(f) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). This section states that a person is inadmissible to Canada if s/he has ever been a member of an organization that has engaged in terrorism.
Oscar was a member of the FMLN which is currently the democratically elected government of El Salvador. Much like Nelson Mandella’s ANC in South Africa, the FMLN was an armed opposition prior to the Peace Accord in El Salvador. Although Oscar himself has never participated in any violent activities of any sort, the Canadian government says that Oscar was a member of a group that once engaged in terrorism.
As a result, the Canadian government denied Oscar his right to a refugee hearing. This led to the three separate legal applications that are described below.
Oscar Vigil is a loving husband, a caring father, and valued member of the community. He is also a refugee claimant from El Salvador. Fearing for their safety, he fled his country in 2001 with his spouse Carolina, and their three children and came to Canada.They had received death threats as a result of their work as journalists.
Since then, his wife, their son and 2 daughters were granted refugee status, became permanent residents and now they all are Canadian citizens.
Now, Oscar has been denied refugee status and is being threatened with deportation back to El Salvador.